Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Last Night I Dreamt...
By Tracy Kiely
I never thought about interacting with characters in a book until I read, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. In the brilliantly funny world he created for his Thursday Next series, certain people have the ability to “read” themselves into a book and mingle with the characters when they are “off-page.” It’s the kind of book that makes you feel your own intelligence and creativity is rivaled only by Honey Boo Boo’s pig.
Anyway, I happened to be rereading Daphne du Maurier’s, Rebecca, this week and found myself wishing that I, too, could read myself into the book and be transported to Manderley’s famed luscious grounds. I want to pass by the blood-red azaleas and rhododendrons that line the main drive. I want to slip into a mackintosh and stroll through the Happy Valley, following the loyal Jasper, and smell the fragrant salmon, white, and gold petals dewy with the spring rain. I want to wander to the little bay where Rebecca kept her aptly named boat, the Je Reviens, and visit her private cottage and feel the sea spray on my face. I want to be politely (but formally) greeted by Frith before tucking into a sumptuous afternoon tea in front of the library’s cheerful fire. I want to sit at Rebecca’s desk and see her curiously bold, slanting handwriting. I want to explore the dreaded empty west wing and listen to the surf breaking on the shore below. I want to visit Rebecca’s room and touch her things as the second Mrs. de Winter did.
And while all of these experiences would be heaven for an anglophile like myself, they are only secondary to my real purpose in traveling to Manderley.
I want to know what Rebecca looked like - I want to gaze upon the famous painting of her and behold her legendary beauty myself. I also want to know what the hell the second Mrs. de Winter’s first name was. But mainly, I want to look the dreaded Mrs. Danvers in her frightening hollow eyes and take away her goddamn matches so she can’t burn the place down.